V&A Illustration Awards 2013

The winners of the 2013 Illustration Awards were announced last night at our annual Awards party. The four winners were each presented with a trophy and £2,000, with the Student Runner-up receiving £1,000.

The Awards have been going since 1972 with the aim of celebrating the best in book and magazine illustration. Each year, a panel of guest judges has the difficult job of selecting the winners from the array of entries uploaded to the Awards pages on the V&A website. All of these entries are kept and will gradually build up to form an online archive of contemporary illustration.

This year our guest judges were artist/designer Lady Dyson, lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe, artist Lucy Woodroffe, editor of Stylist magazine Lisa Smosarski, and V&A Director of Design Moira Gemmill. After much discussion they chose the following winners:

Best Editorial Illustration – George Butler for Syria: the point of no return by Martin Chulov, published on 30 August 2012 in Guardian G2

In June 2012, George Butler travelled to Azaz in Syria where he made a series of watercolour illustrations that show a community coping with the aftermath of shelling by government forces. For this powerful piece of reportage, Butler was chosen as 2013’s Overall Winner of the Awards for which he receives an additional £2,000.

George Butler, illustrations for ‘Syria: the point of no return’ by Martin Chulov, in Guardian G2, published by Guardian News

Best Book Cover Illustration – Pietari Posti for Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, published by Vintage

This book cover was one of a series created by Posti about which he says, ‘I wanted to keep the vintage spirit of the 1930s on the covers but without feeling old or outdated. I think the limited colour palette of bright orange and fresh blues were a good choice, keeping all the covers united but still giving enough room for variation. The water is obviously an important element in the series too, so I gave it a strong graphic treatment to bring it to the fore.’

Pietari Posti, cover for Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, published by Vintage, London, 2012

Best Book Illustration – Anna and Elena Balbusso for Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin, published by the Folio Society

The Balbusso sisters are identical twins who work together to create lush, sumptuously coloured illustrations. Their work compliments the rich imagery of Pushkin’s writing and draws on carefully researched period detail whilst using modern techniques – the hand-drawn work is digitised, then coloured in Photoshop.

Anna and Elena Balbusso, illustrations for Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin, published by the Folio Society, London, 2012

Judging the Student entries were designer and lecturer Peter Nencini and artist, illustrator and designer Matthew Richardson, himself a winner in the Awards on two occasions.

Student Illustrator of the Year – Grace Helmer for The Fugitive by Primo Levi

They chose Grace Helmer as Student Winner for her painterly work in oil and pencil illustrating Primo Levi’s short story, The Fugitive. She says, ‘The story feels very claustrophobic and frustrating. I was working in the college studio with strip lights and no natural light, trying to pin down my ideas, so I identified with it’

Grace Helmer - The Fugitive by Primo Levi

Student Runner-Up – Minho Kwon for The Neo Arts and Crafts Movement

Minho Kwon’s elegantly crafted series of drawings show objects from different eras – a Baroque organ and a Ferrari 360 engine, Victorian architecture and the Apollo 13 module ship – melded together to create curious new hybrids.

Minho Kwon - The Neo Arts and Crafts Movement

All of the winning illustrations can be seen in the Awards display in Gallery 74 along with a rolling on-screen selection of the short-listed entrants’ work until 1 December 2013.

View all entries for this year’s Illustration Awards

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